Refuse to lose

Boys team looks to fix mishaps with new and returning members


Jessica Majors

Senior Thomas Young gets ready to strike the ball to the left conner for another Freedom goal as Carlyton’s goalie charges out towards him.

Jessica Majors, Asst. Sports Editor

As the Freedom boys soccer team steps back onto the field for another season, its future looks bright. The team, which shares a strong connection on and off the field, has grown with a healthy mix of returning and new players. Composed of 29 young men, including nine seniors, three juniors, seven sophomores and ten freshmen, the Bulldogs look to go further than the first round of playoffs this season.

While the team ended last season by saying goodbye to five very talented players,  alumni Ethan Paxton, Nicholas Dinardo, Tyler Smith, Blake Thewes and Sam Socash, five freshmen joined the team to one day replicate their success. According to senior Hunter Black, the team had an easy transition with these new freshmen over the summer. 

“The new freshman have not really needed any motivation to push them to do their best. They all show up to every practice and they strive to do their best and put forth 100 percent effort and it is a huge part of our team,” Black said.

For these freshmen, transitioning from middle to high school athletics came with some difficulties. Not only is there an age gap between freshmen and senior players, but also the size difference between some of these players. Other differences, including the faster pace of the game itself and the large commitment to conditioning, showed freshmen like Luke Snavely how different the sport he has played his whole life is different in a high school setting. 

“Middle school conditioning definitely does not compare to high school conditioning,” Snavely said. “The biggest challenge I have faced this year with soccer was the tougher conditioning. I ran a bit over the summer to try to condition myself for soccer conditioning and it seemed to help. Running two miles in soccer camp really challenged me, but in a good way.” 

Training for this season began in early July, and the players have been on the field practicing ever since. Later that month, the boys traveled to Strongsville, Ohio to compete in the Adidas National Showcase against a variety of different teams that they don’t regularly face.

“I really enjoyed the games in Strongsville, Ohio. It was fun to compete against teams that aren’t from this area,” Snavely said. 

The boys left Strongsville with a record of 3-2, but bounced back in the following games with great teamwork that followed. While the team did not get the results they were seeking, they gained valuable lessons regarding teamwork and also received a major confidence boost that will carry them throughout the entire season. They learned each other’s strengths and also their weaknesses. 

For the most part, the team sees potential for the future, especially considering the first section game of the season saw the Bulldogs defeat the New Brighton Lions 18-3 on Sept. 3.

After defeating the Lions, the Bulldogs traveled to Hopewell to take on the Vikings on Sept. 10. The boys defeated the Vikings by a score of 7-2. Senior Tyler Mohrbacher helped lead the team to another win with the help of his 4 goals. 

The Bulldogs continued their winning streak as they took on the South Side Rams Sept. 12. at Bulldogs Stadium. The Bulldogs blew right passed the Ram’s defenders by securing a shootout and blanking South Side 13-0. Senior Thomas Young lead the Bulldogs with a hat trick.

On Sept. 19, the boys recorded their first loss of the season against Quaker Valley. After being behind 5-0 in the first half, the boys battled back the second half, but could not strike the ball to the back on the net with finishing the game with a score of 8-0.

“I feel that we will definitely make it to the playoffs, but I hope it will be our best season yet,” Black said.